Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eating for Pleasure

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last night a group of us decided to go out to a restaurant named Yellow Bar, pre recommendation of Chef Tommaso during our class yesterday.  The food was AMAZING.  I ordered strichetti pasta and a salad (with was much needed after a few days without many veggies!).  The stichetti pasta noodle reminded me of a lasagna noodle.  The sweet tomato sauce was filled with zucchini and eggplant, topped with a hint of mint and parmesan cheese.  After everyone was finished with their primi and secandi, we absolutely could NOT pass up dessert.  Liz and I shared chocolate and vanilla gelato topped with whisky.  The whisky was a bit much for me but added a nice punch of flavor to the gelato.

Insalata Mista (Mixed salad)

Strichetti Pasta with tomato, eggplant, zuchini, mint, and parmesean

chocolate and vanilla gelato and whisky

In the beginning of class we discussed yeterday’s market tour and the food we ate around Florence.  The main idea of yesterday is to see how food is used for pleasure.  Plasurable food uses only the best ingredients.  This includes produce in season, the best fish, and making friends with the vendors so you can rely on someone to help you out when you are unsure!  Eating in Florence has really helped me change my perspective on ways of eating.  You cannot eliminate food that makes you feel good.   (of course keeping portions in mind!!).  This is why people fail at “diets.”  A diet should be a way of healthy eating habits that you are able to make you feel good and keep up with for the rest of your life.  Eliminating “pleasure” foods from your diet feels like a punishment and this is what makes dieting much harder than it is.

The topic of today’s class we spoke of folklore and festivals in Italy.  Chef Tommaso focused on The Race of the Candles in Gubbio in which people run frantically to the church of Santa Maria.  Country festivals are known as “sagre” which is the glorification of food for the people and thanking God for all that he has provided.

The recipe made was “Zuppa di Farro.”  Farro is the first grain for the people and is very inexpensive.  It is an acient grain grown in the roman times and is known for its nutrition and to be eaten by those who have an intolerance to wheat.  In todays recipe we used spelt instead of farro.  They are very similar and can be exchanged for one another in recipes.  The soup also contains potatoes, tomatoes, fresh sage, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and cannellini beans.

At the end of the recipe we made sfumata, which is olive oil, rosemary and garlic heated together.  After sautéing until the garlic is golden brown, the garlic clove and rosemary are discarded and the olive oil is poured into the soup.  To serve the soup you place the soup in the bowl with a piece of garlic toast, topped with grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pepper.


The final product

The soup was very warm, hearty, and comforting.  Chef Tammaso was very impressed with everybody’s cooking skills today! 

Today is a day of relaxation, enjoying the sun and clear skies, and later a tour of The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also know as Duomo!  We are cooking dinner at home tonight with fresh pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach that Liz and I bought yesterday from San Lorenzo Market. And of course there is always room for gelato :)


Molly Jean

Molly Jean

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